Primary School No.1467, or the former Hawksburn Primary School, was built in 1874 to a competition-winning design by Crouch and Wilson. The original school building was remodelled in 1924 with an extension on the north-east side of the building. The school, a symmetrical polychrome brick building in the Gothic style, demonstrates typical craftsmanship and decoration, particularly in the Venetian-inspired use of polychrome window dressings and courses, the bell tower, and the steep slate roof decorated with gable vents and finials. The school site was redeveloped in the 1990s for housing and the school building itself converted to auction rooms.
How is it significant?
Primary School No.1467 is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Primary School No.1467 is of architectural significance as one of a group of schools designed by leading Melbourne architects as a result of a competition held by the newly formed Education Department in 1873, and erected in the period 1874-81. While the competition schools are important in the history of the development of State education in Victoria because the design of a large number of subsequent schools was based on them, this particular design did not apparently serve as a prototype. The competition drew a number of important Victorian architects, including Reed and Barnes, Terry and Oakden, Charles Webb, WH. Ellerker and Crouch and Wilson, the architects of this particular design. The design of these early schools tells us something about the philosophy of education at the time, the large classroom spaces indicating the size of classes, and the rather limited fenestration revealing the priority given to the isolation of children during the education process over the provision of natural light. The Gothic style and religious flavour of the bell tower emphasise the seriousness accorded to educational provision after the introduction of compulsory education in 1873.
Primary School No.1467 is of architectural significance as an important example of the work of the prominent architectural firm Crouch and Wilson, which was also responsible for the design of a wide range of works, including numerous Wesleyan churches and churches of other denominations throughout Victoria.
Primary School No.1467 is of historical significance as evidence of the development of State education in Victoria. The competition to produce school designs was an indication of the importance accorded the task of building the State’s education system by the newly formed Department of Education. Additionally, the idea of producing attractive but standardised designs reflected the enormous task of building sufficient schools to cope with the massive demand sparked by the introduction of free compulsory education in 1873. Primary School No. 1467 is significant not only as the first State school to be built in Prahran after the introduction of compulsory education, but as a reminder of this broader context of the development of State education as well.
The 1872 Education Act theoretically provided for compulsory education under the auspices of the Education Department. The Department took over or bought many denominational school, although 125 church schools continued into 1873. However a massive building program was needed and one-third of Victoria's schools were built between 1873-5. These 'competition schools' were judged by the Minister for Education assisted in part by the architects Leonard Terry and Charles Webb. Both of these architects were commissioned to build schools as well. Terry and his partner Oakden designed Primary School No.1542 at Brighton and Primary School No.1689 at King Street, West Melbourne, whilst Webb designed Primary School No.1253 Dorcas St.. South Melbourne and Primary School No. 1406 Yarra Park. The 1873 competition guidelines gave little improvement to previous schools:
a) Material for walls to be brick, roofs to be slate
b) Width of schoolrooms to be 20' and no room to be longer than 65'
c) Each child to be allowed an area of 10' - or 2 children to each foot in length of classrooms
d) Schoolrooms to be lit from behind children when seated, preferably from the ends of rooms or the roof. No window sill to be less than 4' from the floor.
e) 'Ventilation must receive careful attention'
f) Building to be of a simple character
g) Lavatories to be provided
h) Building to be arranged to allow future extensions
[from L.Burchell, Victorian Schools 1835-1900, pp.90-100]
Associated People: S E Brindley